In softball, a common issue that players have when trying to make a powerful hit is “pulling off the ball.” This means that when your bat makes contact with the ball, your front shoulder rotates too much backwards, opening your shoulders up, rather than staying tight and squared. When this happens, you’re losing a significant amount of power, and hindering your ability to hit the ball effectively.
This is why we’ve assembled two great drills, to be performed in succession, which will vastly improve your ability to keep your front shoulder in, and make more powerful hits.
But first, a few quick tips:
1. When you’re swinging the bat, the first body part to engage should be your hands. Allow your hands to start the swing, and follow with your shoulders, rather than the other way around.
2. If you’re having trouble keeping your shoulder in, try hitting with your head down, pointing towards where your bat is going to make contact with the ball. Keeping your head down in this position as you swing will help you keep your front shoulder in.
If you really want to perfect your technique and learn how to stop pulling off the ball, try these two drills, which are best performed in succession.
Step 1: Get down on your knees. This will stop you from rotating as much as you would if you were standing.
Step 2: Grab your bat much higher up on the grip than you normally would. With your leading hand (the one attached to the arm you would have out in front, closest to the pitcher), grab the bat just below where the handle starts to expand into the barrel. Put your other hand flat against. your chest.
Step 3: Swing the bat, using the same motion you would normally use while swinging, but just with one hand. As you swing, keep your upper body locked into place, making sure that your shoulders don’t rotate. In other words, your upper body should stay facing forwards at all times.
Step 4: Swing the bat like this 50 times. Do not worry about speed. This drill is purely to master your technique.
Step 5: If you have a tee that you can get low enough to the ground, after you’re done your first 50 repetitions, do another 50 swings, but this time, hit the ball off your tee.
Step 1: Put a ball on your tee, and get into your normal hitting stance. Grab the bat a little higher up on the handle than you normally would.
Step 2: Do 50 practice swings, while making sure not to rotate your upper body. This is the exact same drill as Drill #1, except you’re on your feet instead of your knees, and you’re using both hands on the bat. Keep both feet planted while you’re doing your swings.
Step 3: If you have a tee, put a ball on the tee and do 50 more practice swings using the same technique, but this time, hit the ball off your tee.
Step 4: Now, do another 50 repetitions of the swing, hitting the ball off your tee each time and using the same technique, but this time, allow your back leg to turn, so that you end your swing with your back toe pointed into the ground.